Brawls On and Off the Field

Eric hopes he can get his old job back. Kyle Chandler by Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Episode Recap: "Are You Ready for Friday Night?"Is this show about football or hockey? There was so many smackdowns (verbal and physical) tonight, that I think I'm forming bruises in sympathy. What does it say about a show when the characters who are doing the best at the moment are the ones who recently committed murder?That's right, you Tyra and Landry fans — the deed has been done, is probably going to be done again. And it seems like they're genuinely in love. Dillon's former bad girl — who seems to have passed on her particular brand of anger to Julie, but more on which later — is in a relationship with a guy that respects her and won't take advantage, so it's just too bad that the entire foundation of their love is that they killed someone. Their watch-shopping scene was the sweetest and lightest of the night ("it really doesn't look anything like [the old watch] except that they are both watches and have hands and tell time"). Definitely a welcome respite fro... read more

Let's Talk FNL!: Are Tyra and Landry Officially an Item?

Will Tim finally get Lyla? Taylor Kitsch by Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

What didn't happen last week? After all, while Tami Taylor was on the verge of losing her mind, Matt and Julie broke up, Jason found out about a possible medical breakthrough, and Buddy totally self-destructed at the Panther pep rally, possibly reigniting the Lyla/Riggins romance. Oh and did I mention that Tyra and Landry hooked up and that it wasn't weird? Well, it was weird in that their hooking up was a direct result of him murdering her stalker, but still.Let's see if Buddy's cleaned up his act and if Glenn the guidance counselor puts the moves on Tami. Use this space to talk about the episode live, and check back after 10pm/ET for my full recap. read more

"A Night of Possibilities"

Is it 1994? I think it must be, because lately Tia Carrere is popping up everywhere — well, if not everywhere, at least on two shows I cover, and I only cover three, so if she shows up on Friday Night Lights, I know something's up. Between her hanging out with Larry David (cocreator of Seinfeld, coincidentally on in 1994) and Kelsey Grammer (Frasier, also on in 1994) in recent weeks, I just have to wonder if I've been witness to a time warp. She did a cute job tonight, playing a woman — not a hooker, apparently — who almost managed to seduce Chuck, so it's a shame she was rather underutilized.Of course, had she actually managed to "take a ride on the Chuck wagon," as Montana so delicately put it, we wouldn't have been able to see that Chuck is, at heart, a decent guy. Sure, he only took Ryan out to dinner to prove to Kelly that he didn't donate the rude gene to Gracie, and yes, he did repeatedly try to hurry up and ditch this dinner to be with Carrere's unnamed hottie... read more

"The Rat Dog"

I think Larry David spies on me. Until this week I could have chalked everything up to coincidence (the smoke alarm, "shmo-hawk" and disturbing car rides), but when he devoted every other scene in this episode to a toaster that doesn't actually toast anything, well, I had to wonder where he keeps the surveillance camera. The idea that it could take 15 minutes to toast some bread (and still have it be bread and not toast) hits incredibly close to home, and as funny as it is, I'm starting to get creeped out. On the other hand, maybe these are just the universal truths of the human condition that Shakespeare never got around to examining.So what kind of mayhem did this so-called toaster cause? Well, in the rush to get out of the house, Larry and Leon accidentally switched up their identical cell phones, and Loretta missed her job interview. But the misfortune didn't end there (does it ever?); Larry rejected Leon's job offer, thinking it was a telemarketer, and Leon insulted the already... read more

A Plague of Consequences Strikes Dillon

Matt tries to figure out how to deal with the women in his life. Zach Gilford by Bill Records/NBC

Episode Recap: "Bad Things"Regular readers of this blog know that this show make me cry on a pretty regular basis. Tonight's episode was no exception, though I'm not sure what part was most affecting. You'd think it would be Jason still coming to terms with his paralysis after recovering some muscle function, but that's really just par for the course on this show. As usual, Connie Britton's flawless portrayal of a new mother with a crumbling psyche was wrenching to watch. Was there any scene in which she wasn't desperately trying to swallow her sobs? And the thing is, it all seemed so completely organic — there was no screaming or a melodramatic "Why me?" moment. It's hard not to love a show that allows its characters to fully comprehend the ridiculousness of their choices, and when Glenn (the guidance counselor in need of guidance) asked Tami why exactly she and Eric were living apart, her acknowledgement of, "I don't know, that was just my idea, it was just a stupid idea," wa... read more

Let's Talk FNL! Will Tyra and Landry Keep Their Secret?

How will Lyla's newfound faith affect her relationships? Minka Kelly by Bill Records/NBC

Last week's season opener, Tyra and Landry made one whopper of a bad decision: after killing Tyra's stalker, they dumped the body in a river without telling anyone, even though Landry's father is a cop. Elsewhere in Dillon, Eric and Tami welcome another daughter, Grace, into the Taylor family, and Julie fell for "the Swede" — a older guy with a band, and someone who might just be the anti-Matt. The new Panther football coach took a hard-line approach to practice and to Buddy, while Lyla was born again.So will see a change of heart in Eric this week? Will Tyra and/or Landry break down and confess? How will Buddy deal with his newly demoted status in town?Check back after 10pm/ET for my episode recap! read more

"A Gentleman Always Leads"

Well, I'll say one thing: This is the first time in recent memory I've heard the phrase, "Recorded in front of a live studio audience" outside of a 20-year-old rerun. In fact, it made me think I was too hard on last week's episode. It's a retro show in its own way, and perhaps I needed that jolt of perspective that Kelsey Grammer's little intro gave me.The newsroom of WURG certainly was all a-twitter this week. After Chuck overheard some network brass (who were in Pittsburgh for a program at Carnegie Mellon on "The changing face of network news") talking about how he's gone from one of the biggest markets in the country to being Kelly's sidekick — even going so far as to say, "I'd put a gun to my head" — Chuck decides to take the lead story for the day's news: A family that went missing while camping was finally found. To say he steals it out from under Kelly's nose wouldn't even be an overstatement, and he leaves her with the less enviable, "Building on fire!" headline.... read more

"The Freak Book"

When I heard that this episode would feature a meeting of John McEnroe and Larry David, I was almost giddy with excitement. This was the highlight of the show, but unfortunately, the rest of the story just fell flat. Maybe I'm just scarred because that ride from the cemetery to the Staples Center gave me Vietnam-style flashbacks to a horrible Friedman family car ride, because of the screaming and the threats, but after a stellar four shows, many of the scenes this week just hit awkward notes.Larry's usually good for a decent party disruption, but bringing a "freak book" as a present and insisting on reading it with Jeff as Ted Danson continues opening gifts didn't strike me as the kind of hyperreal situation that Curb usually goes for. Instead, it felt like a setup, and this show has always been better than that. Even the should-have-been hilarious Susie scene didn't really go right. I can understand not wanting to be buried next to Larry David (who would?), but her excuse, "Even yo... read more

A New Job, a New Coach and a New Baby

The Taylors adjust to their new situation. Connie Britton, Aimee Teegarden, Kyle Chandler by Bill Records/NBC

Episode Recap: "Last Days of Summer""Welcome back to another glorious year of Panther football." I'm not ready to classify the football as glorious just yet, what with this new Coach McGregor (the anti-Eric Taylor) and all, but the show itself is certainly back and in sublime form.Let us first welcome into the world Miss Grace Taylor, second daughter of Eric and Tami, sister to suddenly moody teen, Julie. Now Eric has another daughter to defend against football players and Swedes; too bad he's a plane ride away in Austin. His new coaching job at TMU is having a deleterious effect on his family and (I'm not even being dramatic when I say this) the entire football-loving community in Dillon, but more about that in a bit. Julie won't talk to him because she considers him to have been an absentee father for the last 8 months, and Tami — Connie Britton, proving yet again how wrong the Emmy voters got it with her incredible performance tonight — is absolutely destroyed that he c... read more

Let's Talk FNL! Will the Panthers Win Another State Championship?

Is it a boy or a girl for the Taylors? Connie Britton by Bill Records/NBC

Here's a riddle for you: What wins State and not Emmys? Friday Night Lights, the criminally underwatched drama finally beginning its second season. In last April's finale, Coach Taylor revealed to everyone that he would be leaving to take a coaching job at Texas Methodist University, and his wife, Tami, found out she was pregnant with their second child. Tonight we're back, 9 months later in the dog days of summer, wondering what exactly is going on in Dillon. Who's the new coach? How is Jason adjusting to his new role as a mentor? Is Landry finally going to make a play for Tyra? Are Julie and Matt still the cutest couple in Texas? Will Buddy Garrity ever love a person the way he loves the Panthers?This is the place to discuss the show live, beginning at 9pm/ET. Check back at 10 for my full recap. read more

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